Seasonal allergies can make life difficult for sufferers. While trees, flowers, and bushes are in bloom, so, too, are seasonal allergies. More than a million people suffer from allergies each year. Allergies vary from one person to the next, and allergens vary from state to state; however, it is a nationwide problem. Allergens may be found in the air, household products, cosmetics, mold, dust, and more. Many environmental allergens trigger symptoms in sufferers. Knowing how to prepare for and treat allergies is the first step to ensuring well-being.
Trees, Grass, Weed, and Other Pollens
Trees, grass, weeds, and other pollens are some of the most prevalent allergens nationwide. While specific allergens vary according to state, no place is immune from these irritants. Pollen seasons are worse in southern states compared to northern. Down south, pollen season may begin well before spring, as early as January. Being aware of pollen alerts to be prepared for high pollen levels can help sufferers manage symptoms. Speak with your health care provider regarding medications and antihistamines that may be beneficial. The best way to prevent allergic reactions due to pollen, trees, grass, and plants is avoidance.
Molds are fungi that live in dark, moist environments. They exist to help break down materials and matter. Those who have a mold allergy often respond to the fungus with wheezing, itchy, watering eyes, and/or skin irritations. Unknown rashes and hives are often attributed to mold allergies. Those with mold allergies should stay away from exposed and contaminated areas. Certain foods are likely to have small amounts of mold present, too, and these can prove harmful to the mold allergy sufferer. Mold allergy sufferers should avoid eating meat, vinegar, dried fruits, and mushrooms.
Dust and Dust Mites
Dust mites are small, microscopic organisms that create a host of problems for those who are allergic. Dust mites cling to certain particles within dust and feed on dead flesh. They live in warm, humid conditions and are prevalent in southern climates. Any place that collects dust can be a haven for dust mites. Reducing the amount of dust in your home and environment is the best way to prevent allergic reactions. Use hot water to launder items such as towels and bedding. Use covers designed to repel dust mites on bedding and furniture. Vacuum areas frequently to prevent dust mites from spreading.
Pet dander allergies are extremely common, as more than 70% of American homes are shared with a pet. Pet dander involves the flaking skin from dogs and cats. It often results in allergic reactions that include wheezing, itchy, watery eyes, and rashes. Staying away from pets is the best way to reduce exposure to dander. Many people with allergies often keep pets in the home. In those situations, it is best to keep the home free of pet hair and debris. Keeping pets off of furniture may help reduce the amount of allergens that are airborne. Use a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner on a regular basis to help minimize exposure to allergens. Pet dander allergies occur year-round and are not limited to seasonal outbreaks.
Fragrance sensitivity involves more products than perfume. Those who find that fragrances trigger allergic reactions may find that laundry detergents, household cleaning products, and other everyday products are potential triggers. There is an increasing number of people developing fragrance allergies, as companies continue to use various scents in products. Fragrance allergies are not limited to certain seasons but occur when the allergen is present. Fragrance sensitivity may result in watery eyes, sneezing, gastrointestinal distress, migraines, skin rashes and hives, and asthma or other respiratory discomfort. Avoidance is the best way to deal with fragrance sensitivity. There is help for those in the workplace who are exposed to fragrance allergens. Speak with your employer and let them know your situation. Air purifiers may provide help in reducing allergens.
Cosmetics, Perfumes, and Beauty Products
Allergies to cosmetics, perfumes, and beauty products are on the rise. Skin reactions after wearing a new fragrance or applying makeup occur in at least 25% of all people. Irritants such as preservatives and fragrances trigger reactions in sensitive people. Skin sensitivities can include rashes, hives, facial swelling, itchy, watery, and swollen eyes, redness, and blistering. It is imperative that those who develop reactions to health and beauty products stop using them immediately. Contact your health care provider or dermatologist if symptoms don't improve or get worse. Always perform a patch test before using a product. Look for beauty products that are fragrance-free and have the fewest ingredients.
Soaps, Lotions, and Shampoos
Soaps, lotions, and shampoos can result in an allergic reaction known as contact dermatitis. When using a new product, perform a patch test to determine if there are any reactions. Chemicals within these products may be irritating to the skin and may cause swelling, rashes, hives, blisters, itching, or a burning sensation. Stop using any products causing discomfort immediately. Contact your health care provider before treating allergic reactions yourself.